St. James United Methodist Church, located on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Tampa Palms, hosted its 8th annual Red Carpet Affair on April 1.
It’s a prom-like experience for people ages 16 and older with special needs, regardless of their religious affiliation. The Red Carpet Affair is a culmination of months of hard work by many dedicated volunteers, with planning starting in November, and donations from St. James’ congregation and the local community.
Organizers says that more than 140 volunteers are the glue of this event because they shared their time and talents to make this prom another major success for guests.
Ladies who attend the “Affair” sign up for appointments in the “Diva Room,” where they are pampered with facials, manicures and given professionally styled hairdos and makeup.
Parents and caregivers are able to enjoy a reception all their own, giving them a place to sit back, relax and enjoy each other’s company.
The St. James sanctuary was transformed into a dance hall with walls of light, balloon arrangements, and — of course — limitless smiles. Each guest gets to experience a prom-like atmosphere with a walk down a red carpet, professional photography and DJ dancing.
Live Fusion Entertainment played all of the current hits from the radio and even led a conga line, which is a favorite among guests and volunteers alike.
This amazing community event was attended by more than 280 guests, parents and caregivers, making it the largest Red Carpet Affair to date. Several of those in attendance said that the Affair is the event of the year for Tampa Bay-area special needs families.
Carlene Barbeau, a veteran volunteer for the event, described the prom as “more of a joy for me than for our special needs friends. It is incredible to see people from all ages, backgrounds and abilities come together to dance, laugh and appreciate our uniqueness.”
If you would like to be part of next year’s Red Carpet Affair, or other ongoing events for those with special needs, contact Zach Grant, director of Special Connections, at email@example.com.